When you sit in a waiting room packed with screaming children for half an hour because the receptionist refuses to give you your prescription for anti-lunacy drugs until you’ve seen a doctor. When the doctor interrogates you intensely, accusing you of being a bad boy and not taking your medication. When you escape this third degree grilling by the GP and are so flustered that you forget to pick up your prescription from the receptionist – the whole reason you went to the surgery in the first place. When, for no apparent reason, the train into Town stops for ten minutes in a tunnel so you do not even have a mobile phone phone connection. When all of this happens and the evil voice is nearly convincing you that everyone and everything is plotting against you, this is when you really need to install yourself in a refined boozer and have a couple of restorative pints. So I met Peter in The Greenwich Union.
The Greenwich Union is the tap pub for the Greenwich based Meantime Brewery. Some people are a bit sniffy about Meantime Brewery beers, criticising them because they are not real ales. This means that rather than the beers being served warm, uncarbonated and still alive as is the traditional English style of ale they are keg beers which have a distinct effervescence and are served chilled. Whilst it is certainly true that real ales can be glorious expressions of the beer idiom they are not the final word in quality beer. When keg beers are brewed with the care and attention to detail that typifies the Meantime beers they can still be interesting, complex drinks which have great refreshment value. Indeed, such is the quality of Meantime brews you would have to be a pretty miserable real ale twat to dismiss them simply because they are not made in accordance with your preferred aesthetic; these are properly good beers.
So I hit the bar and there is an embarrassment of quality beer riches to chose from, but I find the choice easy: London Pale Ale. My long-time reader may recall I have a bit of a thing for pale ale and the Meantime Brewery’s version is excellent. It has a strong, refreshing bitterness and plenty of floral hoppy flavours which only enhance its invigorating properties. Delicious stuff. As I drained my pint I felt my vexed state caused by the inconveniences earlier in the day evaporating and being replaced by a disposition of balanced calm.
At this point I thought a spot of lunch would be in order: a tasty bacon sandwich. Unfortunately when I go to the bar to place my order I am told in all seriousness that they have run out of bread, which seems a bit silly to me. I content myself with another pint of London Pale Ale to serve as a bracing liquid lunch before I return to the doctor’s to finally claim my prescription.